Can I have my criminal law trial in French?

4. Find a French lawyer or paralegal

Here are some ways to find a lawyer or paralegal:

Law Society Referral Service

The Law Society of Ontario has a Law Society Referral Service. This online service gives you the name of a lawyer in your area who can talk to you for up to 30 minutes for free. You can ask for a lawyer who speaks your language, or a lawyer who accepts legal aid certificates.

If you’re unable to use the online service, you can call the Law Society of Ontario crisis line at 1-855-947-5255 or 416-947-5255 in Toronto. For example, you can call this number if you’re in a shelter or in a remote community without access to the internet. The crisis line is available from Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

You don’t have to hire the lawyer you get referred to. But you can’t ask for a second referral for the same legal problem.

Law Society of Ontario Directory

The Law Society of Ontario has a Directory of all lawyers and paralegals licensed to practise law in Ontario. You can search the directory by name, area of law, city, or postal code. You can also search by whether services are offered in French.

Legal Aid Ontario

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) provides legal services to people in Ontario with very low incomes.

You can use LAO’s interactive tool to search for a lawyer by location, area of law, or language spoken.

You can also call or a visit a community legal clinic in your areas. The clinics that provide French language services are identified in the directory by a Franco-Ontarian flag.

LAO also funds 4 summary legal advice clinics that only provide French language services. For example, The Centre francophone de Toronto offers legal aid services in French to those in the Toronto area.

The Association of French-Speaking Jurists of Ontario 

The Association des juristes d’expression française (AJEFO) has a directory of French-speaking lawyers. You can search the directory by name, area of law, and city. You can also search for a lawyer that accepts legal aid certificates.  

The Ontario Legal Information Centre phone line

The Ontario Legal Information Centre offers a free 30-minute meeting with a lawyer to any person faced with a legal situation in Ontario. You can call 1-844-343-7462 to speak with a lawyer about any area of law in English or French. You may have to leave a message, and a lawyer will call you back within 14 days.

Paralegal Association

The Ontario Paralegal Association has a tool called “Find a Paralegal” at the bottom of their homepage. You can search by name, keywords, area of practice, and location.


JusticeNet is a not-for-profit organization that helps people access legal services when their income is too high to qualify for legal aid but too low to afford legal fees. If your net family income is less than $59,000, they will refer you to a directory of lawyers and paralegals who provide help at reduced rates depending on income.

You must register and pay a $25 fee to use the website. This fee may be returned to you if you do not find a professional to work with.

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